Attorney General Eric Holder, on Friday promised the Justice Department will capture or kill the man known as “Jihadi John,” ISIS extremist who is believed to be responsible for several beheadings. BBC News revealed the masked murderer as Mohammed Emwazi, a western London man who was previously detained by British counterterror officials in 2010. The Washington Post first reported Emwazi was the likely ISIS propagandist on Thursday, citing friends and human rights workers familiar with the case. Two U.S. government sources who spoke to Reuters Thursday confirmed that investigators believe the man is Emwazi. The man seen in ISIS’s brutal hostage videos, sometimes decapitating people himself, was identified by news outlets like the BBC and the Washington Post on Thursday as Mohammed Emwazi, a Londoner who is thought to have joined ISIS after traveling to Syria in 2012.
According to The Washington Post and the BBC, Emwazi was born in Kuwait and studied computer programming at the University of Westminster. The university confirmed that a student of that name graduated in 2009. Both Obama and Holder declined to confirm the identity of the masked militant or comment on the specific case. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has targeted an individual in 2014, by working with British officials and that the investigation is one that the White House is pursuing aggressively.
London Metro Police Counter Terrorism Commander Richard Walton released a statement discussing the released identity of ‘Jihadi John’ saying, “We have previously asked media outlets not to speculate about the details of our investigation on the basis that life is at risk. We are not going to confirm the identity of anyone at this stage or give an update on the progress of this live counter-terrorism investigation.”
Holder spoke to ABC News discussing the recent identification of Jihadi John. “The vow that I can make to the American people, along with our allies, is that we will hold accountable all of the people who have been responsible for these heinous, barbaric acts,” Holder told ABC News in an interview. “That is something that we are focused on each and every day.” Holder refused to confirm reports that identifiy Emwazi as “Jihadi John” but did say they have been planning ways of capturing or killing the masked militant. “I think there is something to be said for holding accountable [and] getting at the people who are responsible for these barbaric acts,” Holder told ABC News.